The 2020 Palio di Siena is Cancelled for the First Time Since World War II

May 14, 2020

The Palio of Siena, will not be run this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor of the Tuscan city of Siena said today. The bareback race, where riders and horses have to charge three times around Siena’s main, mediaeval square, is held twice a year, on July 2 and Aug. 16 and the last time it was cancelled was in  the 1940s during World War II. Dating back to the Renaissance era, it has rarely been cancelled, one of the times includes a deadly outbreak of cholera in 1855. The Palio  normally draws tens of thousands of tourists to Siena and, according to the city’s mayor Luigi De Mossi, it would be impossible to maintain social distancing. “It was a painful and unanimous decision,” said De Mossi. “The Palio is a celebration and in the conditions our country is in today, it is impossible to run. We had kept an open door, thinking of postponing the decision, but now the time has come. The city and the Sienese need certainties.”

By Press Release